What a gift I received this morning…from God…through Andy Otto at dotMagis

What a gift this blogosphere is or can be. I have struggled in my recent months of busy-ness, feeling guilty about not spending more time in prayer and contemplation, not spending more time here. I’ve asked for God’s help and insight about how to find better balance in my life. I’ve written about it here and here.

Then, this morning Andy Otto at dotMagis shared these words in his piece, Opening Our Eyes to Contemplation.

When I told my spiritual director that I had not been praying, he asked me what I was doing. I told him about the journaling, the talking with others about my patient visits, how the experiences and people in the hospital were often on my mind, and the bit of spiritual reading I was doing. “Sounds like you’re praying quite a lot,” he told me. My director helped me open my eyes to the reality of God all around me. I was indeed being attentive to my reality, but I had failed to recognize fully God’s presence there.

Many of us have practiced contemplation without even realizing it.

He reminds us that the key is sharing the experience with God…recognizing that He is in all that we see, being present with Him as we take in His wonderful creation all around us.

 

Being present with God in the world

Upon awaking today I intended to focus on ‘being present.’ It is challenging for me. I can be adept for a while at a sort of consciousness that acknowledges God in my midst and then find that, little by little, I’ve fallen away. Busy schedules, spiritual laziness, life’s distractions. But few of us really are called to be full-time contemplatives or to spend all our days studying the Word of God.

Still, I have found myself longing for more quiet and alone time again after several months of deadlines, difficulties, and demands that have pulled me from my solitude into ‘the world.’ After a flurry of inner excitement and an obsession almost with exploring my spiritual/blogging world, I found I’d set a pace for myself that I could not maintain…especially when life’s challenges intervene to shake things up a bit.

So, for some time now, I’ve been seeking balance. Some routine that acknowledges my need to connect with God and to focus here in this blogging space on the spiritual lessons and challenges with which my life is blessed, as well as to cope with all the calls – the critical, the social, the trivial – of a normal day of being who I am – wife, mother, friend, worker, helper – well, you know.

A normal day in my life of late most often starts with a ‘good morning’ to God, coffee and contemplation on some commendable text. Today, I’m in the middle of A Year With Thomas Merton. In the meditation I was reading this morning Merton wrote:

I find more and more the power – the dangerous power – of solitude working on me. The easiness of wide error. The power of one’s own inner ambivalence, the pull of inner contradiction. How little I know myself really. How weak and tepid I am. I need to work hard, and I don’t know how – hence I work at the wrong things. I see that the first two months I got off to a nearly false start with too much excited reading of too many things, and my life has been grossly over-stimulated for a solitary (in community, all right). Especially I worked too hard, too obsessively on the book, to frantic a pace for a solitary (again, in community solitude seems crowded and hopped up to me).

The parallels with my recent experience thrilled me. I’m not the only one to struggle with this. Praise God!

Merton continued:

Everything has meaning, dire meanings, in solitude. And one can easily lose it all in following the habits one has brought out of common life (the daily round). One has to start over and receive (in meekness) a new awareness of work, time, prayer, oneself. A new tempo – it has to be in one’s very system (and it is not in mine, I see).

And what I do not have I must pray for and wait for.

Prayer and waiting. Yes. Then, I think I would add…

  • Patience and faith.
  • Preparation and practice.
  • Progress and growth.
  • Recognition and thanksgiving.
  • And, at the last, acceptance of myself as God’s divine creation.

 

 

If We See God In All Things, Evil Will Find No Home In Us

To all my virtual friends, my belated, but warmly felt Easter greeting.

As I alluded to…wow, it’s been a few weeks ago, now…time is flying in my world…life has intervened and taken me, temporarily, from this platform. I miss each of you and look forward to being more present with you again soon.

My daughter and her employer agreed to part company about a month ago, which came as both a shock and a blessing. Since they gave her essentially 3 months of severance, she thankfully has had more than enough time to find other work. This resulted in the two of us flying across country to a community, which she has wanted to move to for some time.

Long story short, in less than three weeks an excellent new position was offered and accepted; a house was purchased; and she is currently packing and preparing for a cross-country drive with her dog, cat and belongings.

My tasks in support of all this are to get her current home sold and help her sort all the finance details of the purchase, while she’s on the road. We’re both flying through our respective ‘to-do’ lists.

Over the years I’ve become certain that, when barriers to movement in any particular direction are encountered that cannot be easily overcome with a simple prayer, the move is not part of God’s plan.

On the flip side, when perceived barriers arise and they seemingly dissolve before our eyes…as soon as we identify them, they disappear…I am equally certain that God’s hand is at work, parting our own personal Red Sea.

This has happened multiple times for us over the last several weeks, and is continuing as we move forward. It’s been an amazing experience that has left us breathless at times…as we have said we’ve been “whelmed”…not “overwhelmed” since we’re certain our lives are in good hands – God’s hands…but definitely whelmed!

Which brings me back to the title of this post: I have been giving much thought to thwarting evil, thinking and praying about how to pray that my daughter is not faced with evil in her new home. That’s when I felt blessed by this message:

If We See God In All Things, Evil Will Find No Home In Us

So, this is what I will pray … for her to see God in all things; to experience God with all her senses; to allow God to speak to her through all of her senses; and thereby, to so strengthen her that evil can find no footing, no home in any part of her being or her life.

My blessings on each you, too. I appreciate all the love and effort you put into to participating in this virtual community we’re forming.

Composition of Place in House of Cards

A fine example of finding “God In All Things.” Great post from Andy Otto.

God In All Things

House of Cards Zoe Contemplation I’ve recently gotten addicted to the Netflix political drama House of Cards , starring Kevin Spacey. Spacey’s character Frank Underwood is a congressman who plays all the political games of bribery and self-interest. It’s not the most ethical or moral storyline, but it is intriguing. Underwood befriends a young journalist named Zoe Barnes who works at a Washington newspaper. Zoe’s getting famous for some juicy political news she’s helped leak courtesy of Underwood. In episode 3 of season 1, when Nightline offers her an on-air job she’s not sure whether to take the job or not so she calls Underwood.

Underwood, despite being a totally unethical and immoral human being, seems to lead Zoe through an Ignatian composition of place, one that Saint Ignatius would be proud of:

Underwood: Close your eyes.
Zoe: Okay.
Underwood: It’s 11:25. Nightline is about to come on. Millions of people are watching. Where…

View original post 355 more words